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1 COUNTRY NOTE Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2012 UNITED STATES Under embargo until 11 September, at 11:00 am Paris time Questions can be directed to: Andreas Schleicher, Advisor to the Secretary-General on Education Policy, Deputy Director for Education Telephone: Please visit our website: KEY FINDINGS The U.S. ranks 14 th in the world in the percentage of year-olds with higher education (42%). The odds that a young person in the U.S. will be in higher education if his or her parents do not have an upper secondary education are just 29% -- one of the lowest levels among OECD countries. The U.S ranks 28 th in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education, with a 69% enrolment rate. Across all OECD countries, 30% of the expenditure on higher education comes from private sources, while in the U.S., 62% does. Teachers in the U.S. spend between and hours a year teaching much more than in almost every country. The U.S. s higher education attainment levels are quite high overall, but other countries are increasing attainment levels at a faster rate. In the United States, 42% of all year-olds have a tertiary (higher education) attainment, making it one of the most well-educated countries in the world. Only Canada (51%), Israel (46%), Japan (45%) and the Russian Federation (54%) have higher tertiary attainment levels among this age group (Table A1.3a). At the same time, a number of countries have now surpassed the U.S. in the percentage of younger adults with a tertiary attainment. The U.S. ranks 14 th among 37 OECD and G20 countries in the percentage of yearolds with higher education, at 42% - above the OECD average (38%), but far behind the leader, Korea (65%) (Chart A1.1).

2 1 2 Although overall tertiary attainment levels in the U.S. have been high for many years and remain well above the OECD average (30%), they are growing at a below-average rate compared to other OECD and G20 countries. For example, between 2000 and 2010, tertiary attainment in the U.S. grew an average of 1.3 percentage points a year, compared to 3.7 percentage points annually for OECD countries overall (Table A1.4). Based on these trends, the U.S. may find that an increasing number of countries will approach or surpass its attainment levels in the coming years. Other countries in this situation include Estonia, Finland, Israel and the Russian Federation (Chart A1.3). These trends are also mirrored in the graduate output of higher education institutions. In 1995, the U.S. ranked 2 nd after New Zealand in terms of the higher education graduation rate among 19 OECD countries with comparable data. In 2010, it ranked 13 th among 25 countries with comparable data. While the higher education graduation rate in the U.S. grew from 33% to 38% over this period, on average across OECD countries it virtually doubled, from 20% to 39% (Table A3.2). The odds that a young person will be in higher education if his or her family has a low level of education are particularly small in the U.S. One way countries can increase higher education attainment is by establishing a level playing field for example, by working to assure that young people from educationally-disadvantaged backgrounds have a fair chance at entering higher education. In every OECD country, the odds that a year-old will attend higher education increase with the educational attainment level of his or her parents. On average across OECD countries, a young person with at least one parent who has a tertiary degree is almost twice as likely (odds of 1.9) to be in higher education, compared to the proportion of such families in the population. A OECD 2

3 young person whose parents have an upper secondary education has essentially even odds (1.03) of being in higher education, while a young person whose parents have not attained an upper secondary education has low odds (0.44) (Table A6.1) While the percentage of parents who have not attained an upper secondary education is smaller in the U.S. than in many OECD countries 17%, compared to 33% across all OECD countries the odds that the children of these parents will be in higher education are particularly low, at just 29% (odds of 0.29). These odds are below every other OECD country except Canada and New Zealand (Note: due to differences in data reporting, intergenerational mobility in higher education in the U.S. may be understated) (Chart A6.1). By contrast, the odds that a young person in the U.S. will be in higher education if his or her parents have an upper secondary education are 74%, and 158% if one or more parent has attained higher education (Table A6.1). Early childhood education is not as well-developed in the U.S. as in some other countries. Increasing access to early childhood education is another way countries can help prepare students for academic progress later on. For example, OECD research finds that in most countries, 15-year-olds who have attended pre-primary education tend to perform better on the OECD s PISA assessment than those who have not, even after accounting for students socio-economic backgrounds. Early childhood education in the U.S. is somewhat less established than in other OECD countries, especially in Europe, where formal pre-primary education in the public school system is more often the norm. On average across OECD countries, 84% of pupils in early childhood education attend programmes in public schools or government-dependent private institutions, while in the U.S., 55% of early childhood pupils OECD 3

4 attend programmes in public schools, and 45% attend independent private programmes. In the U.S. the typical starting age for early childhood education is 4 years old, while in 21 other OECD countries, it is 3 years old or younger (Table C2.2). In addition, education-only early childhood programmes in other countries are usually delivered by a qualified teacher and have a formal curriculum, while in the U.S., the situation can vary (Table C2.3) The U.S ranks 28 th among 38 OECD and G20 countries in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education, with a 69% enrolment rate (Chart C2.1; Table C2.1). It ranks 6 th among 34 OECD and G20 countries in terms of annual expenditure per pupil at this level (USD 8 396; OECD average USD 6 670) (Table B1.a), although total public and private expenditure on early childhood education as a percentage of GDP (0.4%) is below the OECD average (0.5%). The ratio of pupils to teaching staff in early childhood programmes in the U.S. (14.6) is slightly above the OECD average (14.4), but when teachers aides are factored in, the ratio drops below the OECD average (11.4 U.S.; 12.3 OECD average) (Table C2.2). The personal costs of obtaining a higher education in the U.S. are large In the U.S., the total cost for an individual to obtain a higher education is quite large. On average, the total cost for a man in the U.S. to pursue higher education is more than USD about USD in direct costs, and USD in foregone earnings while he is in school. Only three other countries have total costs that exceed USD : Japan (USD ), the Netherlands (USD ), and the United Kingdom (USD ). However, in these latter countries, the lion s share of the total costs consists of foregone earnings. For women in the U.S., the total costs of higher education are slightly higher: USD on average, comprised of USD in direct costs, and USD in foregone earnings (Table A9.3). but the long-term economic rewards are strong, both for individuals OECD 4

5 At the same time, the payoff for obtaining a higher education degree is much higher in the U.S. than in most OECD countries. For example, over the course of his working life, a tertiary-educated man in the U.S. can expect to earn almost USD more than a man with no more than an upper secondary or postsecondary non-tertiary education far more than in any other country. Meanwhile, a woman with tertiary education in the U.S. can expect to earn almost USD more on average, an amount approached only by tertiary-educated women in Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom (Table A9.3). Over the last decade, the earnings advantage of tertiary graduates over high school graduates has increased in the U.S. from 181% to 184% among men and from 169% to 175% among women (Tables A8.2b and A8.2c). All told, the net present value of obtaining a higher education that is, the long-term economic benefits, minus the associated costs is almost USD for a man in the U.S. and more than USD for a woman. Only in Portugal is this amount higher (Table A9.3). and for the public purse. U.S. taxpayers also realise a healthy return on the public funds that are used to support individuals in higher education. On average, they bear a cost (direct and indirect) of USD to support a man in higher education and USD to support a woman in higher education. Both amounts are higher than the OECD average, which is USD for men and USD for women. In the long run, however, taxpayers will recoup this investment many times over through the increased income taxes that tertiary-educated workers typically pay, as well as savings from the lower amount of social welfare benefits these individuals typically receive. Overall, the net public return in the U.S. amounts to USD for each tertiary-educated man, and USD for each tertiary-educated woman. For men, this public return is higher than in every country but Hungary; for women, it is the 7 th -highest return among OECD countries (Table A9.4; Chart A9.4). OECD 5

6 1 2 The U.S. spends a large proportion of its national wealth on education particularly higher education... Taking into account spending from public and private sources, the U.S. spends 7.3% of its GDP on all levels of education combined. This is well above the OECD average (6.2%), and more than all other OECD countries except Denmark (7.9%), Iceland (8.1%), Korea (8.0%) and New Zealand (7.4%) (Table B2.1). Across all levels of education, annual per-student spending by educational institutions in the U.S. is higher than in any other country, at USD (Table B1.1a). OECD 6

7 1 2 Looking at specific levels of education, however, the picture becomes more complex. As a percentage of GDP, public and private spending on education in the U.S. is slightly below the OECD average for early childhood education (U.S. 0.4%; OECD 0.5%), significantly above average for primary and lower secondary education (U.S. 3.2%; OECD 2.6%), and below average for upper secondary education (U.S. 1.1%, OECD 1.3%). The big difference is in higher education, on which the U.S. spends 2.6% of its GDP much more than the OECD average (1.6%), and more than every other country but Korea (also 2.6%) (Table B2.2; Chart B2.2). On a per-student basis, annual spending by higher education institutions in the U.S. amounts to OECD 7

8 USD Only in Canada (USD ) and Switzerland (USD ) does spending exceed USD on this measure (Table B1.2) a large share of which comes from private sources. In general, a higher-than-average proportion of the U.S. s spending on education comes from private sources. For all levels of education combined, public sources account for 72% of all expenditures on education in the U.S., while private sources account for 28%. By comparison, across all OECD countries, 84% of education expenditures are from public sources, and 16% of expenditures are from private sources (Table B3.2). For higher education, however, the public-private breakdown in the U.S. is nearly the reverse of the situation across OECD countries. In the U.S., 38% of higher education expenditures come from public sources, and 62% are from private sources. Across all OECD countries, 70% of expenditures on higher education come from public sources, and 30% are from private sources. What is more, 45% of expenditures on higher education in the U.S. come from households (Table B3.2). The U.S. is not alone in this situation; in fact, in Chile (68.1%), Japan (50.7%), Korea (49.2%) and the United Kingdom (58.1%) the percentage of higher education expenditures that come from households is even higher (Table B3.2). Nonetheless, the heavy reliance on private spending for higher education in these countries raises salient questions about the extent to which this may limit access to higher education, as well as the robustness of their student aid systems (see Indicator B5). Teacher salaries in the U.S. compare poorly to salaries for other workers with higher education. Despite high overall levels of spending on education, teacher salaries in the U.S. compare poorly. While in most OECD countries teacher salaries tend be lower, on average, than the salaries earned by other workers with higher education, in the U.S. the difference is large, especially for teachers with minimum qualifications. On average, a primary schoolteacher in the U.S. can expect to earn 67% of the salary of the average tertiaryeducated worker in the U.S. (OECD average: 82%). Similarly, a teacher in lower secondary education can expect to earn 69% of the salary of his or her peer with higher education (OECD average: 85%), while an upper secondary teacher can expect to earn 72% (OECD average: 90%). At each of these levels of education, 21 OECD countries have smaller salary differentials between average teacher salaries and the salaries of other workers with higher education (Table D3.1). OECD 8

9 1 2 Teachers in the U.S. spend much more time teaching than in other countries Compared to their peers in other countries, teachers in the U.S. spend a great deal of time in front of the classroom. On average, primary school teachers in the U.S. spend almost hours a year teaching, while lower secondary teachers teach for about hours, and upper secondary school teachers spend about hours. With the exceptions of lower and upper secondary teachers in Argentina and Chile and lower secondary teachers in Mexico, teachers in the U.S. teach for many more hours than in other countries (OECD OECD 9

10 average: 782 hours for primary education, 704 hours for lower secondary, and 658 hours for upper secondary). Notably, while the number of hours of teaching per year tends to decrease with each education level in most OECD countries, the number of teaching hours in the U.S. is roughly the same in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education (Table D4.2; Chart D4.2) Depending on the school level, teachers in the U.S. spend between 53% and 57% of their total statutory working time teaching, on average. In comparison, across all OECD countries, teachers spend between 39% and 47% of their statutory working time teaching (Table D4.1). The remainder is typically spent on activities like lesson preparation, grading, in-service training, and staff meetings. while student-teacher ratios hover around the OECD average. In general, the ratio of students to teaching staff in U.S. schools does not depart dramatically from the OECD average. In pre-primary education, the ratio is 14.6 (OECD average: 14.4), although the ratio of pre-primary students to all contact staff (11.4) is below the OECD average (12.3). In primary education, U.S. schools have a lower-than-average student teacher ratio of 14.5 (OECD average: 15.9). Meanwhile, at the secondary level, the student-teacher ratio in the U.S. is higher-than-average for both lower secondary education (U.S.: 14.0; OECD average: 13.7) and in upper secondary education (U.S.: 15.0; OECD average: 13.8) (Table D2.2). OECD 10

11 NOTABLE TRENDS Though it s still the global leader, the U.S. s market share of international students is continuing to decline OECD 11

12 KEY FACTS Indicator Educational Access and Output Enrolment rates OECD 12 United States OECD average United States rank* 3-year-olds (in early childhood education) 51% 66% 25 of 36 countries 4-year-olds (in early childhood and primary education) 69% 81% 28 of 38 countries 5-14 year-olds (all levels) 97% 96% 29 of 39 countries Percentage of population that has attained pre-primary or primary levels of education only year-olds 4% m 24 of 37 countries Percentage of population that has attained at least upper secondary education year-olds 89% 74% 4 of 40 countries year-olds 88% 82% 11 of 36 countries year-olds 90% 62% 1 of 36 countries Percentage of population that has attained tertiary education year-olds 42% 31% 5 of 41 countries year-olds 42% 38% 14 of 37 countries year-olds 41% 23% 4 of 37 countries Entry rates into tertiary education Vocational programmes (Tertiary-type B) m 17% m University programmes (Tertiary-type A) 74% 62% 9 of 36 countries Graduation rates Percentage of today s young people expected to complete upper secondary education in their lifetime Percentage of today s young people expected to complete university education (tertiary-type A) in their lifetime Economic and Labour Market Outcomes Unemployment rate of year-olds 77% 84% 22 of 27 countries 38% 39% 14 of 28 countries Below upper secondary 16.8% 12.5% 7 of 33 countries Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary 11.2% 7.6% 7 of 34 countries Tertiary 5.3% 4.7% 10 of 34 countries Average earnings premium for year-olds with tertiary education (compared to people with upper secondary education; upper secondary = 100) Men and women of 32 countries Men of 32 countries Women of 32 countries Average earnings penalty for year-olds who have not attained upper secondary education (compared to people with upper secondary education; upper secondary = 100) Men and women of 32 countries Men of 32 countries Women of 32 countries

13 Indicator Percentage of people not in employment, education or training United States OECD average United States rank* year-olds (2005 data) 13.1% 15.0% 16 of 32 countries year-olds (2010 data) 16.1% 15.8% 14 of 32 countries Financial Investment in Education Annual expenditure per student (in equivalent USD, using PPPs) Pre-primary education of 34 countries Primary education of 35 countries Secondary education of 37 countries Tertiary education of 37 countries Total public and private expenditure on education As a percentage of GDP 7.3% 6.2% 5 of 37 countries Total public expenditure on education As a percentage of total public expenditure 13.1% 13.0% 15 of 32 countries Share of private expenditure on educational institutions Primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education 7.9% 8.8% 16 of 32 countries Tertiary education 61.9% 30% 5 of 31 countries All levels of education 28% 16% 5 of 30 countries Schools and Teachers Ratio of students to teaching staff Pre-primary education of 32 countries Primary education of 36 countries Secondary education of 38 countries Number of hours of compulsory instruction time per year 7-8 year-olds m 774 hours m 9-11 year-olds m 821 hours m year-olds m 899 hours m Number of hours of teaching time per year (for teachers in public institutions) Primary education hours 1 of 35 countries Lower secondary education hours 3 of 34 countries Upper secondary education hours 3 of 35 countries Ratio of teachers salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year adult workers with tertiary education Primary school teachers of 27 countries Lower secondary school teachers of 27 countries Upper secondary school teachers of 27 countries * Countries are ranked in descending order of values. See: Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators Visit: Country note author: J.D. LaROCK ( contact: OECD 13

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